By SALVADOR GUTIERREZ, Staff Reporter ¦
Chick-fil-A and Amarillo College have ended their exclusive contract. Although the food cart will keep serving students and faculty, the ending of the agreement will open the door for more food options on campus, according to AC officials.
AC President Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart made the agreement in 2015 with restaurant operator of the Georgia Street Chick-Fil-A, Joshua Raef. Beginning Nov. 16, 2015, the fast-food restaurant began serving students and employees Mondays through Thursdays on the Washington Street campus. Since the beginning of the service, however, students have expressed their concerns. “AC should go over making another decision with students to get their input and strongly consider options that students and faculty can all be happy with,” Jimmy Ray Nye III, a psychology major, said.
The agreement was a year-by-year contract that could have ended anytime by either AC or the restaurant. “Chick-fil-A has had a multiyear exclusive agreement with Amarillo College to have a food truck on the Washington Street Campus and that agreement officially ended on October 31, 2018,” Steven Smith, vice president of business affairs, said. Even though the deal is over, Chick-fil-A continues service without an official contract.
“The fact that AC decided to end the contract was because, until the end of it, Chick-fil-A was the only vendor allowed to sell food on campus. We have chosen to move beyond the contract,” Smith said. “We want to offer a larger variety of food options to students,” he added.
Students said they are looking forward to more food choices on campus, adding that prices are the main concern. “I would like to see more affordable food options that are better suited to the types of students that AC serves,” Saebryn Hanifin, a dental assistant major, said. Others already know exactly what they want to see on campus.
“I usually eat at Sonic, so I’d love some mozzarella sticks on the go,” Steven Osburn, a mass media major, said.
According to Smith, AC plans to expand its food options by closing deals with more than one food vendor. The college recently listed two requests for proposals (RFP) in local newspapers and contacted by phone all the food trucks with a permit. “The goal of the RFP was to contract with more than one food truck vendor and have them rotate to each Amarillo campus daily,” Smith said. “The rotation would allow the college to have different vendors each day and provide service to all campuses,” Smith added.
Smith also said that AC officials want to provide food services to all campuses and have a variety of options for students. “For that reason, we have not signed another exclusive contract which leaves us the ability to continue to seek more food options,” Smith said.
So far, however, Chick-fil-A is the only vendor that has submitted a proposal, he said.